My Neighbors and I Series–Schoolhouse and Community Building

Hello, again History Lovers,

By 1922 Sara Jane Patton, Home Demonstration Agent from Center Star, Kansas had established a thriving organization among the women of that area. Their home-arts work meetings were so well attended that the club had outgrown the ability to meet in folks’ homes. Club members wanted to also add dinners and socials to the club’s schedule of activities, but where could they find space for their activities?

At the same time, the schoolhouse in the community was in need of a remodel and improvements. By combining resources, the community was able to solve both issues with one building. Club members now had a space large enough to meet their growing needs and the children had a modern, well-lighted school to go to.

It would be interesting to have a history of the use of that building. I hope it served the community well for a decade or two. Enjoy!

Center Star, Kansas Community Club Project

Through the efforts of the community club in that district, the Center Star schoolhouse in Cherokee County, Kansas, has been remodeled into a combination of school and community building where Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dinners and socials and plays can be given without having to use the church or crowd the people into the primary seats of the schoolroom.

The Center Star Club was organized by Sara Jane Patton, Cherokee County Home Demonstration Agent. The members wished to provide social enjoyment in addition to their program of work. The socials and the parties which they gave proved so popular that there was no house in the neighborhood that could accommodate the crowds.

The schoolhouse in town had to be remodeled, as the health officer, Dr. J.C. Montgomery, had decreed that the bad lighting was causing headaches and strained eyes. Since this had to be done why not include a community room in the schoolhouse?

Plans were drawn up by Walter Ward, the extension architect at the State Agricultural College. In the new plan, the old school was made the auditorium. The old entry was converted into an elevated stage and the small porches were enclosed and made into dressing rooms. The stage of the old schoolroom, which was on the north, was moved around to the east side of the building and now serves as the main entrance. Rolling partitions separate the auditorium from the new schoolroom. Seven windows provide adequate lighting. A model kitchen, 8’ by 11’, equipped with a range, cupboards, and worktables, opens into both the auditorium and schoolroom. Hot lunches are served to the children throughout the winter months. A hot-air furnace gives heat. The auditorium seats about 125. There are rolling partitions between the two rooms. The cost of the building including some of the new equipment for the schoolroom was about $3,700.

The Center Star Community building was dedicated on November 28 [1922]. Dean Hattie Moore Mitchell of Kansas State Manual Training Normal gave the dedicatory address.

A union Sunday School meets in the building regularly and recently, when a millinery specialist from the college gave a course of instruction to the women of the community, these meetings were held in the community room.

Mrs. S.H. Jarvis is president of the club.

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 367; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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